I did not know that I could develop such a strong opinion so quickly – especially one that is informed. The argument for/against defining one’s ideas as tangible property in need of protection can lead to very complicated and controversial debates. Jack Valenti, former president of the Motion Picture Association of America and pro-copyright lobbyist, believes that IP is “private property” and the unauthorized use of it is “stealing.” Attached below is a Soundcloud link for a debate held at Harvard University between he and Lawrence Lessig III, the founder of Creative Commons .
On the other hand, Stephen Kinsella calls IP unnecessary. He says that in a world that experiences scarcity, property is necessary. However, he says that in the internet world there is no scarcity of ideas, and thus – no scarcity. This sentiment is echoed by Mike Masnick in his article, “If Intellectual Property is Neither Intellectual, Nor Property, What is It?”
I couldn’t disagree more. Really. I have an emotional response to the idea that, as Adam Kokosh says on his YouTube video, “As a human being [I] have the right to copy music, movies, text, and ideas,” and that, “Every idea should belong to all of us.” No, I’m sorry. You do not have a right to my ideas. I do not have a responsibility to share my ideas with you. Yes, it is nice if I do, but that should be my choice. For this reason, I am glad that I have learned about Creative Commons. I think this is a neat idea – the choice about “how” to share, but I certainly do not believe that copyright should be done away with or that IP is not a thing.
Kinsella talks about how if there were no property people would live happily… No way. People like to own stuff, AND there will always be scarcity. Take Kodiak for example. Let’s say the island was public and anyone could live wherever they wanted. According to Kinsella, this removes scarcity, right? Wrong. There will always be a scarcity of something someone wants: seclusion, easy access, water, trees, views, flat ground, hilly ground, farming ground, forests, sheltered ground… By nature, I think, people want what others have and for this reason the ownership of property is and the right to protect it will always be important. However, there are always those who seek to take away rights and claim it is for the good of the whole. This assignment just alerted me to another threat to my freedom. Freedom to own…
Pros and Cons IP Argument PowerPoint seen above
1.“Intellectual Property.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 13 July 2018.
2.Kokesh, AdamVsTheManRT. YouTube, YouTube, 20 May 2011.
3.Kinsella, Stephan. “The Case Against Intellectual Property.” Handbook of the Philosophical Foundations of Business Ethics, 2001, pp. 1325–1357.
4.“The Future of Intellectual Property on the Internet: A Debate.” SoundCloud, soundcloud.com/berkmanklein/the-future-of-intellectual-property-on-the-internet-a-debate.
6. Himma, Kenneth Einar. “The Justification of Intellectual Property: Contemporary Philosophical Disputes.” SSRN Electronic Journal, 2006, doi:10.2139/ssrn.904264.